In a 2018 Emerson Exchange conference presentation, Five Steps to Better Project Planning, Emerson’s Stephen Bunge, Alan Harris and Som Sreedhar shared key steps they follow to help put projects on the path toward project execution success: reducing total installed cost and lowering project execution risk.
The five steps are:
- Engage Early
- Vision Alignment
- Data-Driven Decision Making
- Bridge the Technology Gap
- People and Processes
The Project Certainty approach is designed to eliminate cost, provide expert partnering, reduce complexity and more easily accommodate change. Automation impacts process equipment, construction & startup, engineering, piping, structures and electrical design and installation.
According to the Construction Industry Institute study, the companies that spent the most on pre-project planning, lowered overall project costs and schedules. Your ability to make changes in a project becomes more difficult and expensive as the project advances through the project phases from Front End Engineering & Design through installation, commissioning and ongoing operations.
Stephen shared an example of a valve. The conventional approach is to develop generic specs. An optimized approach is to engage with valve suppliers early to optimize the specifications, inspection and testing, reduce schedule and optimize drawings.
Alan described a formal workshop approach with the manufacturer’s project team, the Engineering & Procurement Contractor (EPC) and Emerson consultants. Have a broad cross-section of stakeholders allow everyone to provide insights and align on a common vision to have everyone moving together with a common purpose to execute the project.
This workshop identifies value opportunities, reviews these opportunities, approves them and then implements them. Alan shared an example of a modular construction approach to shrink the schedules up to 6-8 months. Cabinets can be shipped without I/O and DeltaV Electronic Marshalling (CHARMS I/O) added as the mix becomes known over time.
Data-Driven Decision Making
The focus is to use data to tell the story such as cable savings from using CHARMs technology, fieldbuses, and wireless instrumentation. Another example are technologies such as gas chromatographs and continuous emissions monitoring systems (CEMS) being field mounted instead of in shelters saving on construction and installation costs.
Alan shared that there are more than 100 value improvement opportunities in the Emerson project execution database to see which may apply on a project.
Bridge the Technology Gap
Stephen shared an example of using smart commissioning instead of the traditional project approach of performing loop checks, loop by loop. This is almost always on the critical path of the project. Smart Commissioning automated a number of steps in the loop check process. Devices are autosensed in the DeltaV system and late binding of instruments accommodates last minute changes required. AMS Device Manager can perform bulk configuration to reduce time to configure devices.
Communicating early when applying technologies such as DeltaV Electronic Marshalling can save on excess cabling and oversized cable trays which may have been specified earlier in the project.
People and Processes
Standard processes and tools learned over many years of executing large and megaprojects improves project execution efficiency and repeatability. Cloud-based engineering allows the hardware to be decoupled from the software to allow the software configuration to be advanced earlier in the project schedule. It also enables a global project team to work around the clock.